Throwback GTP Thursday: 1990 Portland International Raceway
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

As part of its 50th Anniversary season, IMSA is taking a look back at some of the great races from one of its most popular eras – Grand Touring Prototype (GTP).

This week’s race is the 1990 GTP race at Portland International Raceway. In addition to the race video above, IMSA also found post-race quotes from the event and has transcribed them below…

GEOFF BRABHAM, #83 Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo: “I got to turn eight and the throttle stuck wide open and I just had to ride it out. I've said all along that it's the mechanical aspect that could well determine this year's championship. This was just one of those races that you have to forget about. When the guys did get me running again, the car was pretty strong, but being so many laps down, I knew it was a matter of just racing for points.

"What put us out was when I came out of the pits, the oil pressure fell. I saw smoke in the mirrors and brought it back in. Once the guys got the car back to the trailer, it started right up, but the oil cooler split and oil poured all over the engine bay."

DAVY JONES, #60 Castrol Jaguar XJR-10: "Our car was quick every session, so I felt confident going into the race. The Nissan would pull a quick lap out of nowhere and head the time sheets but I knew we would be OK. My strategy for the race was to run out front and set my own pace. I didn't want to run behind Geoff (Brabham). I knew I needed to make my tires last and running out front at my own pace would enable me to accomplish this. At the start Geoff was quicker off the line because my first gear was too short, when I hit second gear I started to gain momentum on him and was able to pass him into turn one. In the beginning of the race, the track was still slick from the GTO/GTU race, but as the race went on it wasn't too bad. We had a good set-up and as I ran up front, the gap just kept increasing. I wasn't aware of any conversation within the team about putting Price (Cobb) in the car. I like running alone because there are no compromises in the set-up. At the end with about ten laps to go I kept waiting for something to happen, the flag, maybe even a full course yellow. I really feel good for the guys because we've had some races this year where we were looking good but had something go wrong right at the end. I was on the pole for the race at Elkhart Lake last year so I'm looking forward to going there for the next race."

CHIP ROBINSON, #84 Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo: "The motor was sluggish off the corners right from the start. But speaking of starts, I got a real good start … a real good start! I was far enough ahead of the Toyota that he had to let me in. But I only took what I absolutely had to have to fit into turn one. Juan's (Fangio) a real good driver. He realized I had a bit of an advantage and did the wise thing. I couldn't stay with Davy (Jones). My car was sliding around a bit more and that, with the problem off the corners, had me falling back.

"Coming in here, I knew I had to try to catch up with Geoff (Brabham) in points, and I picked up 10. So at least I accomplished part of my goal, just not the win. It was really a tough race with having to watch out for the marbles, the heat, and the incredible pace."

RUGGERO MELGRATI, #B0L El Charrro Ferrari Spice:" It was very hot and the track was very slippery. There was also a problem with dust. Cars seemed to be going off the track all the time. The car worked fine, we had all the power we expected from it. The only problem we had was with the radio. The was interference and it created a constant buzzing on the radio. So basically we couldn’t use the radio. Martino (Finnotti) told me that there was a problem with car #9. There was possible contact between the two. We don't usually wear cool suits because they are too constricting, but it will be a must for the San Antonio race. I think we will use them on our heads only though."

DRAKE OLSON, #98 Toyota Eagle HF89: "I'm happy to get a finish --a good finish. We thought it went just fine for us. It would have been nice for us to win, but this is good. The car was pretty good, at least better than yesterday. I felt we were on par with the other competitors. We kind of went the wrong way on the set-up at the start, so we were a day late and a dollar short. This morning's warm-up wasn't very conclusive.

"The first couple of laps it was extremely slippery – so much so that I thought something was wrong with the car. It was slippery as could be the first two laps then it started to improve. I was surprised to see the Nissan go off. I saw it was Brabham. If it was mechanical, then that explains it. Geoff doesn't make many mistakes. I was relieved when the BFG car spun. My foot was a real problem. I had virtually no sensitivity in it at all."

JUAN FANGIO II, #99 Toyota Eagle HF89: "When the wing broke, I picked up some push, which is the opposite of what you would expect. Why? Who knows? When Dan (Gurney) asked me to come in, I said, 'Are you sure?' You must be ready for that kind of thing. We were lucky that the wing didn't break. We could have arrived at a turn and if you don't know it's broken, you could be in trouble.

"The first part of the race, I was very careful. After we went by the Nissan (Chip Robinson), the lap times got better. The only place I could pass him was at the end of the straightaway. He was smoking, so I thought if I just waited, I would get by.

"I was very comfortable with car and in the second part of race, I could try even harder, take more chances to go faster. Especially after they fixed the wing, we were a half-second faster every lap."

WAYNE TAYLOR, #64 MTI Racing Chevrolet Spice (GTP): "Naturally, the race that you're in is the toughest. Compared with the Lime Rock ride, which is really tough, this is by far the toughest drive of the year for me. It was so hot it was really wearing me down. My (drinking) water turned hot and the coolsuit was not working properly so I had to turn it off. That didn't help things.

"Coming from behind was very difficult because it is hard to pass here, but I’m very proud of our finish. This is a great result for our team. The rest of the season should agree with our car. The last three races especially, will be good because of the tight turns and short straightaways on those tracks. Our car should excel at those races. That makes it nice for us going into the end of the season facing the best part of the schedule and having done so well here -- I'm really looking forward to it."

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